Instagram: The land of glamourous imagery by everyday (and professional) photographers sharing scrumptious food, colourful travel shots and carefully crafted selfies. It’s citizen journalism reloaded.
I love Instagram. I love looking at photos of people’s lives, interacting with fellow bloggers (and potentially interviewees!) and creeping (we all do it, okay). Recently, I have started putting serious effort into what my Instagram profile looks like (it’s all about the grid). I consider my personal brand, the use of neutral space and the inclusion of vibrant colours! Sometimes, though, I wish I could schedule my posts using an easy, efficient app.
In comes Latergramme, a Vancouver based startup that allows Instagram users to schedule their posts. It’s insta-glam!
I connected with Stephanie Trembath, Community Manager at Latergramme, and learned about her role, what the startup is all about, how hundreds of thousands of people are already using the app and how young professionals can ready themselves for an inspiring, creative future by narrowing in on what they love.
Read the full interview below:
1. What is Latergramme’s story?
The founders are Ian MacKinnon, Roger Patterson, Cindy Chen and Matt Smith.
Six months after the hackathon, Latergramme had about 5,000 sign ups for our beta and, following lots of late nights after finishing long days at our day jobs with other startups, we finally officially launched. A few weeks after launch, two of the earliest Facebook investors reached out to us because their algorithm determined Latergramme was a startup about to take off.
Today, Latergramme has more than 500,000 global users including some of the world’s largest and most recognized celebrities, brands, and agencies, including Lonely Planet, Red Bull, GQ, The Huffington Post and TOMs.
2. What do you do as the Community Manager at Latergramme?
I work very closely with our community by gathering feedback and addressing questions or issues our users may encounter. Responding to the community is very important to the Latergramme founding team and all communication between myself and our users gets delivered to the developers so that they can make an informed decision as to what features or issues are dealt with in an appropriate timeline.
I also manage the ambassador and influencer program, which has received incredible feedback. The ambassador program consists of global influencers who use visual media to share their story and build their brand. This group of Latergrammers, as we call them, has a big hand in the development of the community and shares their inspiration and visual media strategy with our community as well.
3. How did you get this job?
I had just quit my previous job at another startup company and was looking for work in the Vancouver startup community. I wanted to land somewhere that focused on culture, both internally and externally, and Latergramme really hit all of the things I wanted from my next job including a tight-knit team and ambitious leaders who I could learn from.
4. When did you first realize you wanted to kickstart a career in social media?
When I graduated from university with a BA in English and Communications, social media seemed like an avenue I could pursue while I decided what sort of career path I wanted to create for myself. I wouldn’t say that I wanted to kickstart a career in social media, it was more of a decision made out of necessity than strategy.
I love what I do as the Community Manager and there are components of social media involved, but I feel like most jobs today require a bit of skill in social media.
5. What inspires and amazes you about Instagram, overall?
The collaborative aspect of the app. I’ve “met” so many interesting and inspiring people from all over the world and from Vancouver that I would not have had the chance to connect with. Instagram seems to foster relationships with people who share the same aesthetic or are a part of the same niche group, and all of my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.
When I message someone from Vancouver to meet for a coffee, I am always amazed at how generous the recipients are with their time. I discovered @tannerloveschips and @avecamilla on Instagram and met with each of them on separate occasions for coffee. Tanner and Camilla were so kind and funny and spent an hour sharing their stories and visual strategy with me.
Likewise, when I message or comment on someone’s feed, I’m usually greeted with an enthusiastic response or, in the best cases, an email. Many of our ambassadors who share the #laterlove come from various places across the world and were more than happy to connect and establish a relationship with me and the rest of the Latergramme ambassador community.
With all the cyberbullying and the negative comments you see across social media, it always give me such a rush of joy and hope to connect with others who just want to spread their vision and share a little kindness on the interweb.
6. Is there one specific Instagram account you adore and couldn’t go a day without browsing?
Lately I’ve really liked using Instagram for access to the local community. It’s how I see upcoming Vancouver events and activities I might want to partake in. It’s so much easier to preview Instagram as a mini news feed than Facebook, in my opinion, and I often find that I sign up or add an event or two to my calendar that I see in my Instagram feed.
7. What type of strategy do you use for your own, personal Instagram account?
Last year, I shared a lot of content that was heavily curated. My good friend and food connoisseur, @natalieseraf and I would spend long afternoons prepping and shooting food photos (to then dine on somewhat cold dishes). Much of what I shared was not “real” in the sense that it wasn’t happening when I posted the photo or took a lot longer to style.
This year, I’m posting photos that share what I am doing/thinking/experiencing in the moment. Instagram in itself is heavily curated, just by what you select to share in photo or text and how you take the photo is your perspective. I want to show photos that get into the messiness of life and aren’t so perfectly situated.
I don’t care about crafting an audience or strategy on my personal account, @byStephie, is for me and that’s about it.
8. As a social media expert yourself, how do your website and your social media presence impact your brand?
My personal social profiles and blog reflect a part of me that I want the world to see and I’m very selective about what I share. While I sometimes elaborate on personal aspects of my life, I know how valuable one’s reputation is. Today, your reputation is tied to your social presence and if that gets tarnished, it’s hard to reclaim.
Whatever content I create or share for Latergramme is consistent with the company values and vision. When you hire social media, community, or content creators for your brand, you’re entrusting your company’s voice to these individuals, so there has to be a symbiotic relationship of trust and responsibility.
9. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your journey with Latergramme?
Although I’ve only been with Latergramme for seven months, it’s been such a reward to watch the company, community and product develop en masse. I love being on the ground floor to help develop new ideas and incentives, and it’s been such a treat to see Latergramme scale in opportunities and achievements and know that I’m a part of the kick ass team we’ve all created.
10. What was your first job? How has, or hasn’t, your first job helped you in your own business, today?
This is embarrassing, but my first job was for an agency that created marketing materials for a plastic surgery company that was based in Florida. I created content for the website, blog, print brochures, mailers and magazines; and also managed the social media. I didn’t enjoy the work (the very idea I was marketing to women goes against everything I believe in), but the CMO, her name was Lee, was a really good mentor. She helped refine my skills and pushed me in areas where I lacked. Without her criticism, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
11. What is a day in the life of Stephanie Trembath like?
Latergramme is a startup and that’s typically associated with crazy work hours, but Latergramme has a really flexible (and respectable) work culture where everyone holds themselves accountable to their monthly goals and projects. Depending on what I’m working on, I put in the standard 40-50 hours a week. My typical Monday to Friday is fairly consistent. I like routine and wake up to write/meditate before work and then hit a yoga class in the evening before biking home.
12. Where is your favourite place to find inspiration? Why?
I really see value in the Internet and the accessibility to topics one may not have the ability to experience or discover otherwise, especially Instagram where visuals are mainstage and text is ancillary, however my greatest inspiration comes through candid moments.
It could be an impromptu weekend excursion, a coffee with an old friend; hiking with my sister; walking through Gastown on the way to lunch; a yoga class with a favoured instructor. I’m an experiential learner and most of my inspiration comes from a conversation or activity with someone I trust or admire.
13. What advice would you share with up and coming entrepreneurs?
This is my advice for everyone: Keep it simple. Focus on that one thing that really makes your product valuable or that one thing that you enjoy most. I’ve recently fallen in love with this quote by Ela Bhatt: “I relish simplicity as an all-comprehensive value.
The less you do the better; focus more on less things. Or, as Seth Godin states: “What happens if instead of always seeking more butter, we find the discipline to cover less bread?”